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Five Things You Didn’t Know About Veterans Day

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Today is Veterans Day, a day set aside to honor veterans of all wars — living or dead, but especially living veterans who served America honorably during war or peacetime. Here are five things you might not know about the holiday:

#1.) There Are Over 22 Million War Veterans Living in the U.S. That’s according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. It includes 1.7 million veterans from World War Two, 2.2 million from Korea, 7.3 million from Vietnam, 5 million from Afghanistan and Iraq, and 500,000 from the Persian Gulf War.

#2.) Veteran’s Day Was Originally Called “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was originally established to honor veterans of World War I. Congress made it a national holiday in 1938, then renamed it Veterans Day in 1954.

#3.) “God Bless America” Debuted on the Radio for Veteran’s Day in 1938. Irving Berlin wrote it in 1918, but it was another 20 years before he changed the lyrics and turned it into the version WE all know.
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#4.) The Official Symbol of Veterans Day is the Poppy. In 1918, a woman in Georgia named Moina Belle Michael read a John McCrae poem called “In Flanders Fields“, and it inspired her to wear red poppies as a way of remembering. Flanders Fields is a World War One battleground and cemetery in Belgium.

#5.) The Motto of the Department of Veterans Affairs Is a Quote from Abraham Lincoln. The motto is, quote, “To care for him who shall have borne the battle.” It’s from the final paragraph of Lincoln’s second inaugural address.

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